The use of eBooks in the classroom is up for debate! From tablets to computers to e-Readers, there are many different ways to access an eBook in today’s schools. The world of ebooks brings greater access to a larger variety of books. This in turn offers more resources for students and teachers alike to draw upon, without having to wait for the library to get the book in or purchase it themselves. However, this is bringing mixed reviews from everyone involved with the education system.
Many of us grew up with the pencil, paper, and a pen. We enjoy having the feel of the paper in front of us to flip through, to highlight, to write on or in the margins, draw little pictures and diagrams to help us remember the important points. For the most part, eBooks just don’t offer this same functionality. Barnes & Noble has partially offered up a solution for this in the form of NookStudy. A program that is free to download that allows highlighting, page tagging, dual view to compare sections from two different books and support for simple note creation. The extra gadget’s and electronics that are needed to view ebooks also bring potential other distractions to the classroom. With instant communication, and even some of them offering video or internet surfing, instructor’s appear to fear that their pupils will spend more time on other things then the lecture itself. Some have even gone so far as to ban the technology from their classrooms.
Now, with all these negatives floating around, is there really a benefit to using an ebook? Along with saving space, and saving your back from carrying the weight of the hardcopies, you can also save money with ebooks. This in particular is very important for college and university students where a textbook costs a minimum of a hundred dollars, sometimes even up to as much as three hundred for some specialty texts. When you can get those same book’s for sixty percent off as part of a promotion, that could mean the difference between eating Mr. Noodles all month, or perhaps upgrading to something a little bit more solid like Kraft Dinner!
On the topic of saving money though, some of the public takes it a step too far. It is not hard at all to go online, Google up a .pdf format of a book, and voila you have your ebook for free. This is known as piracy, and is happening with all digital formats that can be uploaded online. The movie, music, and video game industry are all taking large losses due to the mass sharing of the internet, it only makes sense that ebooks will follow this same course. At the end of the day though, it is the purchased books that keep the writers and publishers in business, and allow for new content to continue to be released.
There is also some practical applications to ebooks, allowing for sizes for extra-large print for someone who may have trouble with reading, or sight in general. Or allowing for someone with Autism to simplify the world to a point where they can get interested in it, enjoy the book, and succeed with what they have learned from it. All in all, a lot of us are used to having the paper in front of us. But with technology advancing, and the ecosystem become ever more valuable, perhaps the time has come to start learning to work with the new ebooks.
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and Verge.